Grout sealer gone. Fajita Crunchwrap. Boys groomed. Newsletter.

Grout sealer gone

scrubbing floor
Scrubbing the tile floors and treating them to remove excess grout sealer

When our tile floors were installed in the living room, kitchen, hall, and master bathroom grout sealer was applied. The problem is that the sealer got slopped over onto the tiles themselves; in some places there was a lot of sealer on individual tiles. Aside from changing the appearance of the tiles (from flat matte finish to shiny finish in areas where the sealer was applied) the sealer also attracted dirt and grime and made the floor look unclean. We tried several methods to remove that unwanted sealer, but none worked well. We even had a floor specialist come in and work on the tiles but he could not get rid of the sealer. Continue reading Grout sealer gone. Fajita Crunchwrap. Boys groomed. Newsletter.

Dry again. Board meeting. Web progress. Bingo. LED lights.

Dry again

We’ve had some rain over the last couple of days, resulting in about 3/10ths of an inch in our area. In fact, we had several consecutive hours of rain yesterday; not raining hard but fairly constant. That was good, for we need it. It looks like we’ll be clear for the next few days, with temps in the mid-70s, but next week the forecast calls for temperature drops to below normal (69-70° is normal this time of year) and the possibility of more rain. Continue reading Dry again. Board meeting. Web progress. Bingo. LED lights.

Valentine’s Day. In hot water (again). Early morning. Taxes.

Valentine’s Day

Dancers active on the floor

We attended a Valentine’s Day Dance and Party at the Clubhouse tonight. It was put on by the Women’s Club and was attended by 35-40 people. Marv Fitchett was our DJ (not KJ this time) and played a great selection of music. Many folks danced, and during one period a group did some line dancing, for which they had practiced on Sunday. Not every song brought people to the dance floor, but those from the 40s and 50s and 60s brought the most. Not surprising, given the age of the crowd.

anniversary cake
There was a cake to celebrate two anniversaries; Denny and Marvelyn, and Elaine and I.

Two couples were celebrating anniversaries in addition to Valentine’s Day. Elaine and I are celebrating our 33rd and Denny and Marvelyn Splangler are celebrating their 37th. Another couple, Nellie and Jim, also have an anniversary today but were not at the party. We also had ice cream and there were many other treats as well. Continue reading Valentine’s Day. In hot water (again). Early morning. Taxes.

Scale removal. Bluetooth hassles. Learning PHP.

Scale removal

descaling shower head
Here’s how we are descaling our shower head – a plastic bag filled with vinegar.

When I took my shower this morning I noticed a reduced water flow. We have the type of shower head that has the little rubber nozzles, so I flicked and manipulated them to help clear them from scale. This did some help, but did not thoroughly remove the scale. When Elaine went to the kitchen sink to fill the water pot she commented that we had reduced flow there as well as in the shower. I removed the faucet aerator and we soaked it in vinegar all morning and that seems to have removed most or all of the scale. We then put vinegar in a plastic bag and stuffed the shower head into the bag and left it the rest of the day. We’ll find out in the morning if that did the job there. Continue reading Scale removal. Bluetooth hassles. Learning PHP.

Meal on the grill. Elaine’s hand. Construction in yard. Duplicate emails.

Meal on the grill

garlic steak
Garlic Steak and Cheesy Bacon Potato Hash Foil Packs

It sure smelled great around our place late this afternoon as the meal Elaine prepared was cooking on our grill. In fact, it raised some comments from the construction workers in our back yard! I can attest that it was delicious!

She saw the recipe on Facebook and downloaded it from CafeDelites. You can get it at She mostly followed the recipe she says, but did make her own changes to suit herself.

If you use the recipe I think the potatoes should either be cut into smaller pieces or partially cooked before putting them in the foil packages; ours were still a little hard. We also cooked it about five minutes longer to get the steak cooked more for Elaine’s taste. Continue reading Meal on the grill. Elaine’s hand. Construction in yard. Duplicate emails.

Easier roll-out. Inspector Ian Rutledge. Shrub trimming.

Easier roll-out

push pull handle
Moving the roll-out trays is easier now with this handle I assembled today

The roll-out trays under our deck are very convenient and useful, but one aspect has been a problem. That’s the pulling out and pushing in the trays. I have had to lean way over to push or pull on the wood front of the tray, and it is hard to do at times. So today I devised a handle to make that job easier. It consists of several pieces of 3/8-inch iron pipe and fittings to make the detachable handle you see in the photo. Now I can work the tray without having to stoop, and it is much easier and safer to do. The handle has a T-head at the top to hold on to and an L-hook at the bottom. The L engages a large screw eye I inserted into the middle top of the front board in each tray.

Inspector Ian Rutledge

Racing The Devil cover
Cover of Racing The Devil, the latest in the Inspector Ian Rutledge series by Charles Todd.

I recently finished the 21st book in the Ian Rutledge detective/mystery series by author Charles Todd. I started reading this series in 2016 and grabbed every book in series order and devoured them. The latest book, Racing the Devil, was published last year but I just got it and read it. Todd has another coming out next month, and I have already pre-ordered that one as well.

The Ian Rutledge series fascinates me; it is based in post-World War I-era England. Rutledge is a detective for Scotland Yard for most of the series, but it starts with him enlisting as an officer in the British Army in World War I. He has post traumatic stress resulting from his wartime experiences, and this follows him in his subsequent career as a detective. The times and places fascinate me. It was a time when technology was just getting started; many English towns still did not have telephone service, for example, and motor cars were just becoming popular. Rutledge travels around England solving crimes for Scotland Yard and gets into some very trying situations.

“Charles Todd” is actually Caroline and Charles Todd, a mother-and-son writing team that lives in North Carolina and Delaware respectively. They also wrote a spin-off series featuring Bess Crawford, a nurse serving in France during World War I, and I have read all of those as well. The Bess Crawford series is as good as the Ian Rutledge series.

Shrub trimming

before trimming
The lantanas and rubellia before trimming. There is also a wandering jew with the rubellia.
after trimming
After trimming. The lantana was severely cut back, the rubellia not so much. I did’t cut back the wandering jew.

I decided it was time for me to trim the shrubs in our front yard. That included the three lantana shrubs as well as the large rubellia. The rubellia had gotten tall and rangy and has stopped blooming for the season. The lantanas had grown way further than what I wanted them to get, and were hanging out over the sidewalk. I think my experience with lantanas is that after trimming them back they will grow out again. I hope that is what will happen, anyway. I have not had good luck with the rubellias, however. We have two others that I cut back some time ago and while they seem healthy with nice green growth they have not blossomed again. We’ll see what happens this time.

I wanted to clean up the shrub areas after trimming – to get rid of dead leaves and detritus that had accumulated under the lantana shrubs. You can see what was left in the “after” photo above. But my wet-dry vacuum did a lousy job so I quit for now. I have had trouble with that old machine that I bought used, so I will replace it tomorrow.

It was also time to feed all those plants as well, so I mixed up a couple of buckets of Miracle-Gro and water and doused them well.

I had to empty out the trimmings bag to find my glasses that I lost

After doing all the cutting and cleanup I went inside to rest for a bit but could not find my glasses. I knew they had to have come loose from my shirt while doing all that work outside, so I headed out to look for them. I hoped they were not in the large bag into which I had stuffed all the trimmings, so I started by looking everywhere else. Of course I did not find them! So I had to empty out the trimmings bag a bit at a time until I found the glasses, down near the bottom of the load. So then back to stuffing, and sweeping up the chitterings. But at least I have my glasses!

More storage emptied. Still hacking. Gout receding.

More storage emptied

west storage tray almost empty
Yesterday the nearest roll-out tray was stuffed full. Today it is almost empty.

I did some work in the west roll-out tray today; that’s the one that has been sitting for many months with no attention. In fact, we had forgotten just what we had stored in there! I discovered today that it had contained some tubs that came from our motorhome basement storage as well as a couple of boxes that we had stored after selling our home in late 2010. That tray is now about ¾ empty, and what is in there are seasonal items. We also have some added empty tubs, but there are about four I did not process because I will need Elaine’s help to determine what to do with their contents. Continue reading More storage emptied. Still hacking. Gout receding.

Gizmo escape hole blocked. Decorations stored. Best chip clips. Gout attack.

Gizmo escape hole blocked

Gizmo escape gate
The GizmoGate, now secured with a bungee at the bottom

Last night I had wired shut the bottom of the gate in our back area, through which Gizmo found his escape hatch. The gate is somewhat flimsy, and he was able to push his way out at the bottom corner of the gate. I wired that closed. Today Elaine and Pete Petersen used a bungee cord to provide an alternate system. I will make a more permanent fix. We don’t use that gate often, so a double latching system would not be a hindrance. I guess you could call this the GizmoGate affair! Continue reading Gizmo escape hole blocked. Decorations stored. Best chip clips. Gout attack.

Fast Eddies breakfast. White chocolate M&Ms. Decorations packed. Driving peeve: signal use.

Fast Eddies breakfast

eat at Fast Eddies
One of the fun signs at Fast Eddie’s. I love their sense of humor!

Our Saturday breakfast out this morning was at Fast Eddie’s, at 35th Ave and W Bell Rd. This is one of our favorites. Elaine had a Denver Omelet and English Muffin, I had the Saturday Special: Chef’s Choice. Today the Chef chose to make a ham and spinach scramble with chopped tomatoes, served with hash browns. While I ordered an English Muffin, the wheat bread toast I got was quite good! There were two slices and I brought one home. I always like spinach in omelets and such, so that was a good choice the chef made for me. I picked out lots of little ham chunks to bring home for the boys instead of ordering sausage or such.

White chocolate M&Ms

white chocolate M&Ms
24-pack White Chocolate M&Ms from Amazon

Whenever Elaine is looking for M&Ms candies she always looks first for those with white chocolate. She seldom finds them in stores, though. She was able to recently, and had a 1.5 oz package on her side table the other day and we got to talking about them with Pete Petersen. So I immediately got on Amazon and found and purchased a 24-package box, 1.5 oz size packages! They came today. So now she should not run out soon, and when she does I know where to get more. They were reasonably priced at $16.41 for 24 packs.

Decorations packed

We spent a couple of hours this afternoon packing away the Christmas decorations taken down a few days ago. We still have to store them, but have to do some rearranging for that to happen. But at least everything is packed in tubs and ready for the next step.

Driving peeve: signal use

A practice that peeves me when driving is how some people either fail to use a turn signal or use it improperly. I was taught early in my driving “career” that turn signals should be used to indicate an INTENT to make a turning movement and, at least in Massachusetts back when I got my second license there around 1959 (first was in NH in 1955), should be turned on at least 400 feet ahead of making the turning movement.

So I get peeved when someone makes a turning movement or lane change WITHOUT using a turn signal.

I also get peeved when someone activates their turn signal as they are MAKING the turn.

Another peeve is when people are in a designated turn lane at a traffic signal and leave their blinkers going. Hey: you are in a right turn only lane – why do you have to tell people you are going to make a turn?

Of course then there are the cases of someone “making a left turn around the world”, as Elaine calls it when someone is driving down the road a great distance with their signals still on. It is distracting to other drivers.

Okay: peeves noted and expressed!

Rain. Snow. Shopping.


detention basin
There was water still in the Royal Palm detention basin this afternoon from last night’s storm

I mentioned in last night’s story that we expected rain. And the rain came. We got ¾ inch here in Royal Palm. There were puddles everywhere this morning, including on the floorboards of our golf cart. We had moved it in under our patio awning last night but the wind blew so hard from the west that the golf cart still got soaked. The reported amounts varied from ¼ inch in downtown Phoenix and further south to over an inch north of us. The storm lasted for a couple of hours or more and was accompanied  by thunder and lightning for some of the time. We left our front door open for much of the storm so we could enjoy the sound of the rain hitting the patio awning. It’s a rare enough experience! Continue reading Rain. Snow. Shopping.